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Random thoughts about bikes (really long).....



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 21st 03, 04:19 AM
Buck
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Default Random thoughts about bikes (really long).....

Hi all. I just wanted to share a few things with my "virtual" friends.

My daughter is turning out to be a real cyclist. I've had her in the trailer
since she turned one (my wife wouldn't let me put her in there a single day
before). She asks for "bisickum" rides all the time. So, I took her into the
LBS for the first time the other day. She went nuts climbing on all of the
different bikes. She isn't quite big enough to ride her tricycle yet, but I
think she is determined to skip that step and go straight to a bike. When it
was time to go, she bawled. She has been talking about that trip to the LBS
for two days now.

I stopped by the shop because I want a different mule for towing the
trailer. While the rigid mtb (my beater rain bike with slicks and fenders)
has been fine for now, I'm feeling the itch for something new. So I'm
looking at road bikes with flat bars. I like this combination because it
keeps me a bit more upright and gives me a bit more control over the bike. I
had one built up like this which I rode for a few years, but the frame was
always a bit small and I had toe overlap problems with the fenders. I can
bunny-hop my road bike, but it is much easier with a flat bar (just an
example of a difference in maneuverability). I've decided that it must also
have either v-brakes or disc brakes and mounts for racks at least in the
rear, but I would like them in the front as well. Finally, if I can get it,
I want something with suspension. Perhaps just front and a suspension post,
but something to take the edge off the rough roads. I was spoiled riding my
full-suspension mountain bike all those years.

So, I've compiled a list and I've been visiting the shops that have them to
take a test ride. So far I have been on a Specialized Sirrus and a Fuji
Silhouette. The Sirrus rides well enough, but I see potential problems with
the chain stays being a bit too short (the trailer clamps to the chain stay
and if the stay is too short, I hit the clamp with my heel - which is why I
don't use my road bike to pull the trailer) and the front derailler would
interfere with a rear fender. The Fuji is priced a bit more, but has
upgraded deraillers. Unfortunately, the Silhouette also has Tektro brakes
and shifters which just don't feel as nice as the Shimano equipment on the
Sirrus. The Fuji also has this moronic seat with sewn seams all over the
place. Looks neat, but is a nightmare to sit upon. With a $200 price
difference (the Sirrus is on clearance), Specialized seems to have one heck
of a deal.

My list includes a Cannondale Bad Boy, Cannondale Road Warrior, Gary Fisher
Fast City, Kona Dr. Dew, Rocky Mountain Whistler and Metro, Jamis Coda Comp,
Novarra Big Buzz, and the Giant Cypress. Some have discs, some have
suspension, only one has both. Two others that were surprise finds for me
are the Giant OCR Touring and the K2 Enemy. Why these last two? I spotted
the Giant while searching for the Kona. It has a nice wide set of drop bars,
perfect for hanging a set of cyclocross two-finger brakes as well as the
requisite computer and lights. It also has a set of disc brakes. The final
thought was the 700x38 tires. Those looked comfy. I couldn't ride it because
the frame was waaay too big and the brakes weren't set up yet. They say they
will have the next size down in the coming weeks. The K2, on the other hand,
doesn't come with discs, but does have disc mounting tabs and plenty of
space for big tires.

The biggest problem I'm having is finding most of these bikes. Even when I
find a shop that carries some of these brands, they often don't have the
model I'm interested in. As the Specialized dealer put it, "the reason that
the Sirrus is on closeout is because I can't sell them. Even the distributor
tells me that this style of bike just doesn't sell in Texas." It looks like
I may have to take a trip to either the east or west coasts just to get a
test ride. Either that, or ask several dealers to order in several bikes
which they might not be able to sell just so I can test them all and pick
the right one. Not a good way to make friends in the shop....

I'll try to keep everyone informed as I try them out, one by one. It may
take several months as many aren't in stock, won't be in stock until next
month, or may not come in stock at all.

So, until then, I have decided to revive yet another frame that has been
sitting in the garage for a while. It is an old Schwinn road frame that I
slapped a new coat of paint on. I have it rideable at this point, but I am
debating about a few things. First is the shifters. I've always disliked
stem-mounted friction shifters although they do just fine. I've thought
about using Kelly take-offs, but they are bit too expensive for
experimenting with. A new set of hoods for the non-aero levers and some new
tape helped with the front end. I have yet to mount the front derailler
partly because I haven't stopped in to get a new shifter cable yet. I've
been hauling the trailer with it for a few days (much longer chain stays
than my "fast" road bike). I like it a lot and have considered switching it
over to a flat bar to make my own "hybrid." But this frame is very close in
size to the other flat bar road bike I built up and got rid of. Perhaps the
solution is the Schwinn World Sport that is gracing my garage floor at the
moment. But it needs the fork straightened and the rear triangle spread. not
to mention a new coat of paint. Ah, the tasks that lie ahead.

I guess that's it for random thoughts tonight. I'm sure everyone will have
plenty of their own to share. I look forward to reading them....

-Buck



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  #2  
Old August 21st 03, 01:46 PM
Rick Onanian
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Default Random thoughts about bikes (really long).....

On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 03:19:14 GMT, Buck" u n k m a i l g a l a x y c o r p .
c o m @ wrote:
So, until then, I have decided to revive yet another frame that has been
sitting in the garage for a while. It is an old Schwinn road frame that I
slapped a new coat of paint on. I have it rideable at this point, but I


I say, do build it yourself. Spec it out exactly the
way you want it, see what you can use from the Schwinns
in your garage, and build it up from there. You should
be able to achieve exactly what you want, which seems
like it would otherwise be hard to find; and using an
existing frame (and maybe some other existing parts),
combined with buying parts mail order / ebay, you ought
to be able to save some money, too.

The only issue is that you'll use an older, heavier
frame; but you don't sound like a weight weenie, and
what difference could a couple pounds of frame make
when you're dragging a trailerload of kid?

-Buck

--
Rick Onanian
  #3  
Old August 21st 03, 07:41 PM
Buck
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Random thoughts about bikes (really long).....

"Rick Onanian" wrote in message
news
So, until then, I have decided to revive yet another frame that has been
sitting in the garage for a while. It is an old Schwinn road frame that

I
slapped a new coat of paint on. I have it rideable at this point, but I


I say, do build it yourself. Spec it out exactly the
way you want it, see what you can use from the Schwinns
in your garage, and build it up from there. You should
be able to achieve exactly what you want, which seems
like it would otherwise be hard to find; and using an
existing frame (and maybe some other existing parts),
combined with buying parts mail order / ebay, you ought
to be able to save some money, too.

The only issue is that you'll use an older, heavier
frame; but you don't sound like a weight weenie, and
what difference could a couple pounds of frame make
when you're dragging a trailerload of kid?


Well, I found yet another frame that I forgot I had. It's another Schwinn,
World Sport, Vintage 1970. It's a bit larger frame than the one I last used
for the road bike / flat bar conversion I tried. I placed an old flat bar in
the stem and it seems a much better fit. Now it just needs a new coat of
paint, new wheels, some refurbishing on the bolt-on chrome parts
(cable-stops, etc.), perhaps a new set of brakes (some long-reach brakes
would help resolve the new wheel problem) and plenty of time to tinker. A
new project for the fall!

-Buck



  #4  
Old August 30th 03, 09:20 AM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Random thoughts about bikes (really long).....

Buck j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m wrote:
: Hi all. I just wanted to share a few things with my "virtual" friends.

: My daughter is turning out to be a real cyclist. I've had her in the trailer
: since she turned one (my wife wouldn't let me put her in there a single day
: before). She asks for "bisickum" rides all the time. So, I took her into the
: LBS for the first time the other day. She went nuts climbing on all of the
: different bikes. She isn't quite big enough to ride her tricycle yet, but I
: think she is determined to skip that step and go straight to a bike.

What - skip the trike phase??? Nooooo! The trike phase is
important for a kid's development.

http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/Kuv...rP8240011b.jpg

: was time to go, she bawled. She has been talking about that trip to the LBS
: for two days now.

I guess kids have a very acute sense for what is fun.

--
Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html
varis at no spam please iki fi
 




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